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(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. reaffirm ironclad alliance against N. Korea

All Headlines 17:54 April 03, 2017

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SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense minister and the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander on Monday stressed the need for a watertight security partnership between the two countries to counter North Korea's provocations.

Minister Han Min-koo held talks with Adm. Scott Swift, who arrived in Seoul on the day for a three-day trip.

Han pointed out that the North's nuclear and missile capabilities are continuing to make headway, with the communist nation all set to conduct another nuclear test at the leadership's choosing.

"Under the grim security circumstances, a robust response posture and watertight coordination against North Korea are more important than ever," Han was quoted as saying.

South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) holds talks with Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in Seoul on April 3, 2017. (Courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense)

The allies' ongoing annual joint military drills are making a big contribution to successfully deterring the North, he added.

The navies of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan also launched a rare combined anti-submarine exercise on Monday, mobilizing some major warships and other assets.

The minister emphasized the importance of defense cooperation among the three countries, saying the trilateral training is a clear show of their resolve to deal resolutely with the North's threats.

The U.S. commander assured him that Washington's "ironclad" security commitment to the defense of South Korea remains unchanged, said the ministry.

Swift said the U.S. Pacific Fleet will keep playing a pivotal role in promoting cooperative ties between the two countries' navies, it added.

He plans to attend the Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium (PALS), an annual international forum largely on the Marine Corps, followed by a series of bilateral meetings with senior South Koran military officers.

The admiral will then head to Japan.

South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) shakes hands with Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, during their meeting in Seoul on April 3, 2017. (Courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense)

lcd@yna.co.kr
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